by Morinville Online Staff
The Government of Alberta has introduced the Alberta Firearms Act, which the UCP says follows through on a previous commitment to protecting Alberta’s legal firearms owners. The Act would strengthen Alberta’s ability to regulate, administer, and advocate for firearms owners.
A primary function of the proposed ACT would, within provincial legislation, clarify and strengthen the role of the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO), who would be required to issue an annual report to enhance public accountability.
“Once passed, the Alberta Firearms Act will be the most comprehensive provincial firearms framework in the country,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Tyler Shandro in a media release Tuesday. “By establishing in legislation the role of Alberta Chief Firearms Officer, this legislation will elevate the responsibilities and legal mandate of the office to the fullest extent of the law. Alberta stands unequivocally with hunters, farmers, sport shooters, and Indigenous peoples, all of whom understand the importance of responsible firearm ownership to Alberta’s heritage and culture.”
Many firearms that were previously legal to own came under new restrictions and prohibitions from the federal government, making those guns illegal to own. The province says Albertans own the second-highest number of firearms classified as restricted or prohibited by the federal government. Alberta has 127 approved shooting ranges and more than 650 firearms-related businesses.
The government says the Act would allow for regulations to allow the licencing of seizure agents; develop a Firearms Compensation Committee to set out Alberta’s expectation that owners receive fair compensation for their firearms. Additionally, the Act would create requirements for forensic and ballistic testing of all confiscated firearms when deemed necessary; and the requirement that municipalities and municipal police services meet regulatory requirements before entering into any firearms-related funding agreements with the federal government.
“An Alberta Firearms Act will provide stronger support to the law-abiding firearms community whose activities are essential to the economic vibrancy and cultural heritage of our province,” said Chief Firearms Officer Teri Bryant.
Robert Gruszecki, president of The Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association, said he was happy to see the Alberta Government taking a positive stand for the hunting community.
“Hunters make up a treasured part of our province’s culture, and it is important that these traditions can continue for generations to come,” Gruszecki said. “As an educator and a hunter, I applaud the Alberta Government’s work to ensure that responsible, law-abiding firearms owners can continue to use their tools to provide for their loved ones and for all those who benefit from their harvest.”
Not everyone was pleased with the Bill. Irfan Sabir, Alberta NDP Critic for Justice said the new UCP Bill does nothing to address criminals.
“Albertans are concerned by the rising gun violence in our communities under the UCP, but this UCP bill does nothing to get assault weapons off the streets or improve safety for families,” Sabir said. “There are legitimate criticisms of the federal firearms program, and absolutely they needed to withdraw and reconsider their amendments that would have captured many firearms, including those used by Albertans and Indigenous peoples for hunting.”
The first reading of Bill 8, The Alberta Firearms Act, passed on Mar. 7. Further details can be found at https://www.assembly.ab.ca/assembly-business/bills/bill?billinfoid=11997&from=bills